Liz Truss appeared to attack the media several times during a Tory leadership hustings, before apologising to the journalist who hosted the debate as it concluded.
The Foreign Secretary accused “some of the media” of trying to “talk our country down” during the event in Darlington, and accused journalists of framing questions in a “left-wing way”.
But at the end of the debate she was caught on a microphone apologising to TalkTV journalist Tom Newton Dunn, who chaired the event.
The broadcaster was asking the South West Norfolk MP about her plans to help people with rising energy bills using tax cuts, when he mentioned “your handouts” as he sought to pose a question.
Ms Truss interrupted, saying: “They are not giveaways Tom. This is people’s money, but this is the problem with the way that every question is framed.”
She added: “You’re framing it in a left-wing way Tom. I’m afraid the whole media does this all the time… it drives me mad.”
Ms Truss was later asked if Boris Johnson’s downfall as Prime Minister was of his own making, or someone else’s.
Some audience members shouted out saying it was the “media”.
Ms Truss said: “Sounds like you’re being blamed Tom and, you know, who am I to disagree with this excellent audience?”
Asked to clarify her view, she outlined that she was a “loyal Cabinet minister”, but did not directly answer the question, saying “what is done is done and we are where we are”.
Later, talking about spending commitments and her plans, Ms Truss said: “I believe in Britain, unlike some of the media who choose to talk our country down.”
Mr Newton Dunn replied: “For the record, that’s the third time you’ve attacked the media – a lot of which supports your campaign.”
As she hugged the host of the hustings at the end of the event, Ms Truss could be heard to say: “I am sorry I was mean about the media, Tom.”
Mr Newton Dunn could be heard to reply that the jibes about the media were “cheap”.
Asked earlier in the hustings the same question about whether Mr Johnson’s “downfall” was his own fault or someone else’s, former chancellor Rishi Sunak replied: “His own.”
Mr Sunak’s resignation as chancellor in July was seen as a significant move to encourage Mr Johnson to leave his office.
The Richmond MP also said the cross-party group of MPs due to investigate whether Mr Johnson lied to Parliament over partygate “will make the right decision” and said he would “fully support” them.
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe